News / Asia

    A Step Towards Justice for One Kashmiri Family

    A Step Towards Justice for One Kashmiri Familyi
    X
    September 20, 2013 7:44 PM
    In what is being called an unprecedented decision, a court in Indian-controlled Kashmir recently held police responsible for the killing of a 12-year old boy in a 2010 attack. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to the boy's family who says the ruling gives hope for achieving justice and basic human rights in the disputed region.
    Aru Pande
    Three years ago, Wamiq Farooq went out to play cricket and never came home.
    Al that is left for his parents and older brother, Danish, are school photos, certificates and trophies symbolizing the unfulfilled dreams of a future the 12-year old Kashmiri never had.
    “He was really brilliant, seriously. I can’t explain how brilliant he was, how good of a student he was, seriously. I was really proud of him,” Danish Farooq says as his eyes well up with tears.
    A Life Cut Short
    Farooq says his younger brother was playing with his friends near a stadium in Indian-Kashmir’s main town of Srinagar on January 30, 2010, when police officers drove by and threw a teargas shell. It struck the back of Wamiq’s head and killed him.  Witnesses say the attack was unprovoked, and that the boy was not taking part in stone throwing or any other unrest. 
    In August, a local judge issued arrest warrants for the two officers for culpable homicide, saying police acted recklessly. In the ruling, the judge said tear gas shells are “not a weapon of offense but only intended to disarm miscreants.” Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajeev Gupta also warned police personnel to use only as much force as necessary to disperse an unruly mob.
    Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chair of the separatist umbrella organization Hurriyat Conference, says the ruling in Wamiq Farooq’s death sets an important precedent that such cases must be investigated and brought to justice.
     “A commission of inquiry has to be sought into for all those killings, all those fake encounters, all the police brutality that has happened over these years,” he told VOA just minutes after learning of the court ruling.  “And I must add to it that even the Hurriyat Conference is not averse to looking into issues where armed people or militants may have committed violations of human rights.

    Human Rights

    International human rights organizations have long accused Indian security forces of using excessive force, including firing live ammunition, during pro-independence protests in the disputed Himalayan region.
    Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both.
    More than 60,000 people have been killed in an armed insurgency that began in the late 1980’s, with separatists fighting for self-determination.
    Wamiq Farooq’s death in early 2010 was the beginning of a year of deadly clashes between security forces and stone-throwing protesters. At least 100 people were killed, mostly demonstrators who were shot by police.
    Kashmir Inspector General of Police Abdul Ghani Mir says the unrest of 2010 was a turning point for his force.
    “The J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) has learned its lessons. In the last three years, 2011, 2012 and 2013, there have been protests, there has been stone pelting, the incidents’ triggers have been there, these things have been there, but we have not seen that any killings have taken place during the protests because we have evolved our responses,” Mir said.
    Radha Kumar was one of three government-appointed mediators sent to Kashmir following the violence of 2010.  The political scientist acknowledges security reforms and fewer human rights violations in recent years, but says the government has not done enough to address people’s grievances, including addressing alleged human rights abuses committed by security forces.
    “Kashmiris showed a huge will in trying to put the events of 2010 behind them and move forward on tourism, economy and other issues.  But when you say ‘behind them,’ it doesn’t mean that you are giving up on justice, ” Kumar said.
    As for Firdousa Farooq, she never gave up on justice for her son Wamiq.
     “This is not just a win for me, but for the entire Kashmir.  This is a win for all those who have experienced injustice and for those yet to come. Who knows how long this will go on,” she said.
    Her legal battle over, this mother returns to her now quiet Srinagar home, still longing to hear the footsteps of a little boy whose life was cut short.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora